There is kopi-o, kopi-c, kopi-gau, kopi luwak and a whole range of kopi variations. A unique one joining the fray is kopi joss – a cup of regular coffee with four teaspoons of sugar and a red-hot lump of coal.
Perhaps next time you organize a BBQ, you and your friends may like to try dumping a piece of burning hot coal into a cup of coffee. After all, charcoal does prevent stomach problems and diarrhea that usually comes about from all that oily and ill-prepared BBQ food.
Kopi Joss was invented in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta back in the 1960s by a local coffee stall owner known as Mr. Man who was dealing with an upset stomach. The current stall operator, Alex, who took over after Mr. Man passed away said that Mr. Man was making his usual cup of Joe when his eyes wandered to the burning coal he used to boil water and a lightbulb popped up in the recesses of his brain. He was suffering from some queasiness and thought that the coal would make it better, so he took a piece of hot coal and plopped it into the coffee. It worked wonders and he since started selling it to adventurous customers.
Initially when Mr. Man started selling the unique drink, only students were open to trying it. But the word slowly spread about the medicinal properties of the drink and more people stopped by to give it a try. Today, the drink stall which started kopi joss attracts more tourists than locals, but Alex insists that it is more than a novelty drink, it can actually help alleviate bloating nausea, heartburn and diarrhea.
Kopi joss, or charcoal coffee, is simple to make. Mr. Man’s version is coffee or black coffee with four teaspoons of sugar with the piece of coal. However you may simply plonk in a small piece of red-hot charcoal into a cup of hot coffee just the way you like it. The heat from the charcoal may cause the coffee to bubble over and spill over the cup so do place a saucer or a plate underneath your mug if you don’t like cleaning up spilled coffee.
Once the coal cools, you can take it out of the coffee and enjoy the drink. It is vital that you dunk the coal into the coffee to quench the glowing embers and remove it so that you do not suffer third degree burns to your lips.
Local students who have frequented Alex’s coffee stall took some kopi joss back to their lab to get it analyzed and found that it has a lower caffeine content than regular coffee, because the coal absorbs some of it. The special ingredient also neutralizes the acidity of the coffee, making it more delicious and easier on the stomach.
People who have tried kopi joss review that it tastes the same as any other coffee while others claim that it has a subtle taste of caramel, because the hot coal burns the sugar added to the coffee. You may just have to try it for yourself to reach a verdict. Alex’s stall all the way in Indonesia is selling a cup for just 4,000 rupiah ($0.42), but you may do it in the event you attend a BBQ too, just remember to use a glass or ceramic mug as plastic cups will melt and you will just be poisoning yourself.